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Indo-Pacific

A tale of two covers: Japan's message on Taiwan draws US notice

Defense white paper swaps out placid pink landscape for spirited samurai

​​​​​​​That was then, this is now: The 2020 and 2021 editions of Japan's defense white paper present strikingly different cover images.

NEW YORK -- Gone are the plum flowers and image of Mount Fuji on a sedate pink background of last year. A fully armored samurai warrior mounted on a charging steed is emblazoned on the cover of Japan's defense white paper this year, and people are taking notice of the shift in direction.

The annual "Defense of Japan" white paper is compiled by a team of six under the Ministry of Defense. Four of this year's staffers were women in their 30s, including the team leader. Members reportedly pushed for the samurai on the cover -- partly to gauge interest among the young, but also as a message to the world that Japan is ready to defend itself.

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